It was a strange year for all and we all knew Christmas 2020 would be different for all and challenging for many.
In previous years, The Handy Trust have supported families across the Waterside with Christmas presents and food to ensure everyone enjoys the magic. Christmas 2020 was to bring new challenges, particularly with the amazing Wave 105 Mission Christmas having to reduce their drop-off points and volunteer numbers due to pandemic related restrictions, therefore reducing gifts available to support Waterside children.
The wonderful Lisa Hayes from Gang Warily Scout and Guide HQ had the idea to do a local shoebox appeal, using the Scout hut as a base. From there, Waterside Christmas Appeal was born! It became a partnership project between The Handy Trust, Fawley Parish Council Youth workers and Gang Warily Scout and Guide HQ.
Local drop-off points were set-up for donations for the appeal. We wanted shoeboxes (full or empty), wrapping paper, sellotape, chocolates and any bigger gifts the community wanted to donate. A huge thank you to every business/organisation that became a drop-off point or collected items for us; Compuco, WH Smith (DP), Fawley Express, Co-op (163 Long Lane), Thurston, Tesco Dibden, The Lovely Little Café, Hays Travel, Waterside Funeral Home, Premier Express (Marchwood) and The Manor House Bakery. The Waterside Christmas team regularly collected items from drop-off points, with many filling our cars several times!! The gifts were separated into age ranges and buckets filled with chocolate, shoebox (stocking filler) items, wrapping paper, gift tags and Sellotape! A massive thank you to Tesco Dibden, WH Smith and Thurstons for amazing donations of gift tags, wrapping paper and Sellotape.
Thurstons created posters for us and a huge banner to promote the appeal. We used the graphics to use on the Facebook page. They looked incredible!
In case the generosity of the donations and support from local businesses wasn’t enough, the appeal also had incredible financial donations with many thanks to Dibden Allotments Fund, Day Associates, Pauline Bradbury Crank Pots, Waterside Women, Alan Alvey NFDC, Alexis McEvoy NFDC, Waitrose Hythe, The Waterside self-isolation quiz group and many other local people who kindly gave towards the appeal.
Families who needed support for Christmas 2020 were identified through our community work and partnership working with schools and other organisations. In addition to the AMAZING donations we received, we also had Christmas dinners donated through local people, Tesco Dibden and The Lovely Little Café to further support families on our list. Waterside free meals support also provided bags of goodies to go out with the gift parcels following kind support for their work to support local families also – thank you!
All of us want to say a MASSIVE thank you to each and every person involved with Waterside Christmas appeal, from donations, to raising awareness of the appeal, you all made it a huge success that was able to support…
300 CHILDREN across the Waterside with parcels made up of more than one gift per child, stocking fillers (shoebox appeal), wrapping paper, gift tags, chocolate/ sweets and sellotape! You are all local heroes for making Christmas so much happier for lots of local families.
There have been lots of requests and questions about a repeat performance for Christmas 2021, with offers of support already, so watch this space…